Earl Alvin Gerhardt, Jr. ’51

Earl Alvin Gerhardt, Jr. ’51, 81, of Johnson City, Tenn., died at his home on Feb. 5, 2012, after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was born in Lynchburg, Tenn., son of the late Earl Alvin Gerhardt, Sr. and Georgia Burton Gerhardt. His brother, C. Burton Gerhardt, and sister, Anne Gerhardt Lenhert, are also deceased. After graduation from Davidson, Gerhardt served in Korea as an infantry first lieutenant in the Korean War and upon his discharge returned to Lynchburg and joined the family firm, Lynchburg Hosiery Mills, working in sales and advancing to vice president, secretary, and treasurer. While living in Lynchburg, Gerhardt served as volunteer director of the Lynchburg Historical Museum, then in the basement of the courthouse building but now encompassing the entire courthouse. He was president of the Lynchburg Historical Society in 1970-71 and a founding member of the Virginia History Federation, now the Virginia Association of Museums, serving as its president in 1972-73. Gerhardt entered the Cooperstown graduate program of the State University of New York in 1973, receiving a master’s degree in museum studies. In 1974 he became the first professional director of Rocky Mount, an historic house in Piney Flats, Tenn., which was built in 1770-72 and served as the first capitol of the Southwest Territory from 1790-92. In 1992 he became the director of Tusculum College Museum Program and Studies in Tusculum, Tenn., establishing an undergraduate museum studies program and directing the official President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library. He retired in 2000. Gerhardt was president of the Southeastern Museum Conference from 1984-86 and received its James Short Award for outstanding service and leadership in 1993. He was a member of the council of the American Association of Museums from 1984-89, and, in 1990-92, was treasurer of the American Association for State and Local History. He was an Eagle Scout, a Rotarian, and, while in Lynchburg, a member of the Sphex Club and Westminster Presbyterian Church. Gerhardt is survived by his wife, Sally T. Flournoy Gerhardt, 211 University Pkwy., Apt. 4, Johnson City, TN 37604; and four children, Elizabeth M. Gerhardt; E. Frederick “Fritz” Gerhardt (Amy) and daughters, Abigail and Karenna; Thomas F. Gerhardt (Elizabeth Lodge) and children, Madalina and Ionut; and Anna C. Gerhardt and children, Sarah, Cabell, and Benjamin. Other survivors include a brother-in-law, Donald H. Lenhert; two sisters-in-law, Alice F. Schmitthenner and Mildred F. de Marcellus; and four nephews.